Over the past few years, I have immersed myself in exploring the Eight Limbs of Yoga and how they affect the body and mind. At times, the Eight Limbs of Yoga have seemed daunting, unreachable, and yet simple (read more on the Eight Limbs in the ‘Interested in Yoga?’). These practices have given me the courage and awareness to question my beliefs, habits, and ways of thinking, in search of liberation from pain, fear, and hate.
Because of this awareness, I can more clearly see how pain and fear have profoundly influenced my life. Because of the pain I felt, I looked outside of myself for relief. This took on the form of approval seeking from others, drinking to escape, and adding more and more to my schedule until I had no time at all. These were crutches I used to function in everyday life. I did this to escape my feelings of unworthiness or non-acceptance of self. It was much easier to add more, numb, or ignore completely my feelings than to sit with the pain.
At one point, I realized I had the ability to notice my habits. I was aware of my false beliefs and how they shaped my being. Aware but somehow unable to break the chains of habit. It wasn’t until I found others, communities of people, who had broken through these chains, that I was able to break through my own. These communities supported and guided me on my journey, and continue to do so today.
During the beginning of my journey it was difficult to find teachers or people on the same path. I searched online and read any book I found at the library on the subject of yoga, Buddhism, meditation, or eating live foods. I found myself walking into shops, yoga studios, and meditation groups, feeling out of place and nervous, only to be welcomed with open-arms by genuine people passionate about self realization, acceptance and love.
Slowly, over years, with the support of these people, I have removed the crutches from my life. No longer do I drink to numb, base my acceptance of self on what others think, or constantly fill my schedule until I am overwhelmed with stress (this is the toughest for me! I have come a long way, but am still a work in progress).
As I found these groups, others seemed to find me. Each person asking questions about meditation or healing their bodies and minds with food or yoga. With each new situation, I find answers to issues which support me on my path of healing while supporting others on theirs. I find the bonds of the communities surrounding me getting stronger, more interwoven, with each passing situation or life event.
Whether it’s a community of yoga students at your local studio, coworkers, meditation group, hiking buddy, sister, mother, father, aunt or uncle, son or daughter, feel supported by this web of care, love, and acceptance. It is from these bonds that we can flourish and become our best selves, aiding others in their journey. At the end of the day, we are all One.
Some of the many communities I belong to